11th March 2019

HMRC announce postponed VAT accounting for imports in no deal Brexit – a very welcome move to assist importer’s cash flow

Back in 2018, HMRC published proposals for what has been termed ‘postponed VAT accounting’ for imports of goods to the UK from both EU and non-EU countries in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The proposal was a welcome measure to relieve the cashflow burden for VAT registered businesses of the need to pay import VAT at the time the goods are imported, only to subsequently claim back that VAT later on VAT returns.

HMRC have now issued a further note giving detail of how the postponed VAT accounting will work in practice in the event of a no deal Brexit on 29 March. It includes information about when to account for import VAT on your VAT return, about goods already in transit on the day Brexit is expected to occur, and how to complete your VAT return.

It will be interesting to see if HMRC introduce postponed VAT accounting for non-EU (and EU) imports in any event post Brexit.  Such a move would be uncontroversial and in line with an increasing number of countries worldwide – by doing so it would surely send a message that the UK is genuinely supportive towards businesses.

One simple, but important, housekeeping measure VAT registered businesses, who are currently involved in movement of goods to and from the EU, should consider is to apply for an EORI number, if they have not already done so. This is one of the simpler processes with the HMRC and the online application can be completed in less than 10 minutes, with the EORI number allocated just a few days later.

If you have any questions about postponed VAT accounting for imports in a no deal Brexit, please contact a member of UNW’s specialist team via the details below:

VAT Partner
Mark Hetherington, VAT Partner
VAT Manager
Ian Coulthard, VAT Manager
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